When I was nine years old I called Debbie Reynolds "Mom." I was in a show with Harve Presnell, an actor my generation would probably most recognize as Mr. Springbrook from "Old School" or as Wade Gustafson from "Fargo."
Long before those films he was my Daddy Warbucks. 8 times a week he rescued me from an orphanage. He was just the guy to do it. At least 6'4" and with the most resonant and booming voice I've ever had the pleasure to hear daily, Harve was monumentally dashing and formidable and lovely and sweet.
Long before Harve was my fictional benefactor, he was Debbie's. The two starred in the film version of "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" and became and remained best friends. Back in 1981 Debbie was coming to visit Harve at our home, the Gershwin Theater and he couldn't wait to introduce his motley band of charges to her. He had us brought to his dressing room and with great gestural fanfare exclaimed, "Kids, this is Debbie Reynolds!"
We had no idea who Debbie Reynolds was and greeted her smile with wide-eyed disappointment. But to my persistent glee and grand respect, Ms. Reynolds did not miss a beat, nor betray a moment of insult. She responded, "I'm Princess Leia's mother!" at which point we ran to her arms and covered her with kisses. Thus she became "Mom."